Blogger Profile - Will Richardson

Will Richardson is another edublogger who is guaranteed to make you ask tough questions. He made a name for himself as a blogging expert. His blog, Weblogg-ed: Learning with the Read/Write Web covers Web 2.0 educational issues, amongst other tings. He is one of the most widely read edubloggers.

One of his more recent posts, titled "I Never Knew I Could Have a Network,” addresses some of the issues regarding teachers lack of knowledge about creating networks with common goals and an inquiry driven vision. Here is an interesting quote from his post:
But I would still venture to guess that 75% (maybe more) of educators in this country still don’t know that they can have a network. While most of our kids are hacking away at building their own connections outside of their physical space, most of their teachers still don’t have a firm grasp of what any of it means or what he potentials are. And even for many that do know it, there are still legitimate fears and obstacles to creating professional connections online, time and technology at the forefront.
So, I don't know. How "connected" do you feel to other teachers in your building? In Western New York? How are you sharing ideas, lessons, reflections and anecdotes now? Like the Verizon commercials ask, how big is your network? More importantly, how effective is your network, and how can it be strengthened?

I've got a good article from Richardson from Teacher magazine. I'll post it when I get the chance.


Suzanne said...

I think the questions you pose here are important ones for 21st century teaching and learning. Historically, school has been an artifical learning space with synthetic assessments. The new technologies give us the opportunity to change that. We can reconstruct the concept of school to meld academic learning with everyday real world learning.

However, two questions arise. How many of us are equipped to do that? What needs to change to supply teachers with the skills and materials to take up this unique opportunity.

Suzanne said...

I especially like this quote in the Richardson article from Ulises Mejias' dissertation:

"A more positive interpretation would argue that networked proximity facilitates new kinds of spatially unbound community, and that these emerging forms of sociality are equally or more meaningful than the older ones. Community is thus 'liberated,' unhinged from space, and can be maintained regardless of distance."

Isn't that exactly what we're striving for with this blog? Even though we all have busy lives and live in varying distances from one another, we can be a supportive community of teachers through wise and productive uses of technology, like this blog.

Mr. Malley said...

I'm not too sure how many of us are equipped to do that. I don't know who is equipped to reconstruct the concept of school. I like to think I try to meld academic learning with real world learning, but in the end, who knows. What is real world learning?

In regards to your second post, "Word." That is exactly what we're striving for with this blog.

People are busy, especially during the school day. But when a community is "unhinged" people can get involved in conversations at their leisure.

Information in the 21 century is overwhelming. You can find out anything you want about anything you want right this second. Information is breeding and multiplying. Ideas are being spread. I think that communities (such as our organization/blog) become import because they allow groups with common interests to cull pertinent information, sift it, mediate it, and then use it to inform changing methods in the classroom.

That was a mouthful. I'm going to hang up and think about what I just wrote, lol.

Anonymous said...

The advancement of technology in classrooms is a very important issue concerning the teaching and learning in the 21st century. Not only is technology only being used for in class research or projects, but as a means of communication in and out of the classroom. The new resources that have been made available through technology help students recognize the conection between literacy and technology both in and out of the classroom.

Mr. Malley said...

JK...you wrote "new resources that have been made available through technology help students recognize the conection between literacy and technology both in and out of the classroom." I'm a little unclear about your meaning?

What are these "resources" that have been made available through technology? And in what ways do students truly make connections between literacy and technology?

Mr. Malley said...

BTW, I don't mean to be dim, but I'd like to think about your ideas a bit more.

Anonymous said...

I feel that Richardson has some really great idea to share. I used to blog in high school, on this same site actually. It still exists, as well as my livejournal. And seeing these sites used in a productive manner, a manner conducive to education, is great, because their potential is limitless.

My aunt is the librarian at Maple West Elementary school in Williamsville, and she is constantly using blogs, and other tools "outside of physical space" to build connections with the students in the school. She usually structures projects with the 4th and 5th grade students where they all create and share a blog, very similar to what is being done in High School classrooms. She begins this type of project even with students in second grade, and they have no problems comprehending it. Her new fascination is wiki's. The amazing part is that these students love it. Every second of these projects is fun for them, and they are learning from it. Making learning fun, wasn't that an old catch-phrase?

This just shows though that there is something within this idea that students seem to like, that they seem to connect with. But, outside of this article, Mr. Malley's classroom, and my aunt's Library, I have also never seen this used. That 75% seems to me, in my experiences through schooling, to be low. I'd have to go with the "maybe more" and say that upwards of 85-90% of the teachers I've known, don't know about networks, and would possibly be too stubborn to try. So I guess what I'm getting at is, with the digital age not even nearing its peak, and the obvious call for some type of positive change within our education programs, what must be done to spread this idea? How can one, I guess to be overly-dramatic, start a revolution? And will it work as well as I've seen in practice, and as well as many blogger's are claiming it does for them?


Mr. Malley said...

MR, what did you blog about in high school?

I think I agree with you on the network business. It seems that, in my experience (is that noncommittal enough?) that teachers become very complacent. What is a network? It is a collection of people who talk about ideas about their craft. Yet, convincing some educators that it is worth their time to hop on a computer for 15 minutes a day and engage in thought sometimes seems very discouraging. There are a great many teachers who REFUSE TO CHECK EMAIL because they say they don't have time at school. It's ridiculous. Anyway, don't mean to be a downer.

I don't know what it will take. I'm trying to remember the lessons I learned from The Tipping Point. Maybe it takes conversations like this. Maybe we're the cool kids, lol.